IVF Process Step by Step: Embryo Transfer

Step 5: Embryo Transfer

8-cell embryoEmbryo transfer is the final step in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process at Coastal Fertility Specialists.

The embryo transfer occurs typically on the third or fifth day of embryo growth after the embryologists have been able to determine the best embryos for transfer.

3-day transfer

On the third day of embryo growth the best embryos are eight cell embryos which you can see on the right. Typically two to three embryos are transferred on day three and any remaining embryos cultured to day five or six for possible embryo cryopreservation.

Blastocyst transfer

On the fifth day of embryo growth, blastocyst embryos develop. Blastocyst embryos are embryos containing 100 to 150 cells with a cystic inner cavity called the blastocele. You can see a blastocyst embryo in the picture below. Typically one or two blastocyst embryos are transferred, maintaining high pregnancy rates.

Blastocyst 5 day embryo

What to expect

The embryo transfer is done in one of our operating rooms without the need for anesthesia. With a relatively full bladder we can use ultrasound to guide the embryo catheter into the top of the uterus where the embryos are gently placed.

Any remaining viable embryos on day five or day six of embryo growth that are not transferred can be cryopreserved (frozen) for future use.

Then, the waiting begins! We all keep our fingers (and toes) crossed while we await the pregnancy test 14 days after retrieval. During this period of time we recommend extra progesterone replacement and a positive attitude!

Back to IVF Overview

Quick Links to the 5 Step IVF Process:

  1. Infertility Diagnosis and Testing
  2. Ovarian Stimulation
  3. Egg Retrieval
  4. Fertilization and Culture
  5. Embryo Transfer